After he emerged from his basement in Bremen, Kentucky, where he had cried during a tornado, Jordan Baize saw that the roof of his house had blown away, doors had fallen from their hinges and broken glass and insulation were everywhere.
However, his Yamaha piano was still intact. Under a cloudy sky, Mr. Baize sat alone in his living room the next morning and started playing a song that had been stuck in his head for days.
Whitney Brown, Mr. Baize’s sister, said she heard her brother play on Saturday while she was packing clothes into boxes in his bedroom. When she got mr. Baize began recording, recognizing the tune as a Christian worship song, “There’s Something About That Name,” and recalling the words:
“Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but that name has something,” a reference to Jesus Christ.
She said those lyrics seemed appropriate for the situation. Her brother’s house, his “kingdom,” had been destroyed, but his hopes had been lost, she said.
“It was healing, just to know he was still clinging to the hope of Jesus,” said Ms. Brown, 32, a massage therapist and doula and sawmill owner.
At least 88 people were killed as tornadoes ripped through Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee on Friday. Twelve people were killed in Bremen.
Mr Baize, 34, said he hadn’t realized his sister was recording him but was encouraged by the response after she posted the video to Facebook.
“In these times, whether people around the world had a tornado last weekend or not, we are all dealing with some kind of storm,” said Mr Baize, an accountant and consultant. “That bit of calm and perspective I was dealing with, in what I thought was a personal, private moment, I think has spoken to people all over the world.”
Mr Baize said he ran into the basement with his two children, his ex-wife and her husband just before the tornado was expected Friday night. It happened three or four minutes later, he said. It lasted about 30 seconds.
After the storm passed, he and his children spent the night at his parents’ house nearby. When he returned to the house the next morning, he took inventory of the wreckage: debris everywhere, two or three inches of rain in what was left of the house, and damaged trees three generations of his family had climbed. He turned to the piano, which was flooded.
“I thought maybe I’d just see what shape the piano is in,” he recalls thinking. “If it’s in a horrible, horrible condition, at least I can play again.” He started to play and felt a sense of calm.
Gloria Gaither wrote the lyrics to “There’s Something About That Name”, and her husband, Bill Gaither, composed the music. She said she was overwhelmed after seeing the music video for the song they wrote decades ago.
“A song appears in someone’s life when they need it, apparently,” she said, “in circumstances we could never have dreamed of.”